This is my first week with five commutes - and I'm feeling great. Sure, my times have gotten progressively worse (ranging from 1:02:00 to 1:11:00), and the soreness in my legs happens to be at a new extreme -- but I'm quite happy with things thus far. Assuming $3.60/gallon gas prices and 15 miles to the gallon, I have saved myself $48.00. I will have burned approximately 7,500 calories, and I will have given myself a good excuse to be smug all weekend.
But I wanted to discuss when I will not be riding. As I see it, there are always going to be situations where I must drive into work. I'm sure some of the more hardcore riders will belittle these reasons, but I find them legitimate.
- The West Shore Symphony Orchestra
- I am a bassist. While I'm still dealing with the after-affects of an elbow injury, I recently started playing again for the first time in years. The problem with being a bassist and a bicyclist is that it's really, really difficult to carry around a six foot tall instrument while pedaling. It looks like every Monday, during concert seasons -- I will be driving into work.
- The Winter
- I am not afraid of the cold (and yes, I know that "cold" cannot be defined by "cold August mornings"). The staff at Ice Bike have more than enough information and reviews to ensure that I would be able to brave about any weather situation comfortably and safely. No - my issue with the winter is the damn dark . . . as it is, I will commonly find myself riding shortly before sunrise or dusk -- dark enough that I wouldn't dream of wearing my sunglasses. At these times, I turn on my flashing head and rear lights -- but that doesn't mean that drivers are paying attention. 5:30 AM in December is practically pitch black . . . as is 5:30 PM (nevermind that I am lucky if I get home by 6:30 PM). I'm fairly confident that I can keep this riding up for MOST of the year -- but I have a feeling that my legs will be dark from mid-November to mid-March. Well, I'll work on the stationary bike, just to keep muscles from atrophying -- but, I probably won't get on the road much. Maybe in time, I'll feel better about riding in the dark. I don't think it will happen this winter.
- Choir Rehearsal
- For much the same reason that winters are not going to be good for my riding plans - choir rehearsal is likely going to get in the way, too. I'm the organist at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, which is a 9 month a year gig. It looks like, this season, we're going to rehearse a couple of times a month on Wednesday nights -- which means that I won't be getting on the road until 10. I may ask the choir director (who lives in Carlisle) to take me home (placing my bike in the back of her van) on these days . . . but I'm going to at least let the first rehearsal go by before I really figure out the plans there.
- When I need new clothes
- I keep most of my work clothes at the office these days. I have a 20 mile ride, each way. Dress shoes, dress pants, dress shirt, belt, and tie probably weigh four or five pounds all together (this on top of the backpack with the laptop in it). That's weight that I don't need to carry. Keeping everything at the office works really well -- except when it is laundry time. I think I can keep about two weeks worth of business clothes here. Hopefully, I can time the need to pick up/drop off clothes with the times that I have to drive in for bass-related reasons.
- Other Appointments
- There aren't too many times when I need to be somewhere "not easily bike accessible" immediately after work -- but these situations come up . . . hopefully, they'll be few & far between.
- Injury / General Tiredness
- Fortunately, in the few months that I've been playing around with this bicycle commuting thing, I've been relatively injury free. After some major rides, I've been pretty sore - but never to the point where I dreaded getting on the bike. That said, there have been times when I just told myself that I was "too tired" to bike into work. I think that's why I forced myself to do this all week - just to tell myself that it could be done. Now that I've done it, I'm going to try to do it more & more often. I figure, at some point, the soreness leaves - the problem is that each day I seem a little more sore than the last . . . but after a weekend, I think I'll be able to get right back on the roads next week.
- Weather Conditions
- While "winter conditions" aren't really a concern this year, as I'm not planning on riding in the middle of winter, thunderstorms aren't a whole lot of fun to ride in. If they're calling for abnormal amounts of rain, and it's crappy weather in the morning, I won't come in . . . but the weather druids are wrong more often than not -- so it's that morning call that really dictates what I'll do.
So, that leaves selected Mondays for symphony practice, selected Wednesdays for choir practice, and truly crappy weather days. I'm hoping between those, the "injury/tired" days will disappear . . . we shall see.
In other news, I think I'm going to stop by the tattoo place on the way home tonight. :-)